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Lightning to Go After Free Agent Defenseman After Clearing Cap Space [Rumor]

Are the Tampa Bay Lightning going to test the free agent market again after clearing some cap space with the Senators trade?

According to James Mirtle of The Athletic, there’s some buzz that the Tampa Bay Lightning might be in the market now that they’ve cleared some cap room with a trade on Sunday. After moving defenceman Braydon Coburn, forward Cedric Paquette and a second-round draft pick in 2022 to Ottawa, the Lightning have a little room to play again.

Related: Senators and Lightning Make Salary Cap Motivated Trade

It’s funny how quickly things can shift. Just a few hours ago, the Lightning were in salary cap hell. Now, they’re potentially looking to dip their toes back into the NHL free agency market. Considering how competitive a team they are, that a few names are still looking for work, and the tax-free status that comes with playing in Tampa, the team is sure to find a couple of interested players.

Mirtle writes: “Wonder if Tampa tries to add a solid free agent now that they have a little room… depth defenceman maybe?” He goes on to say that taxi squad means the Lightning could add a couple of depth players.

Who Would the Lightning Add?

First thoughts after a post like this is that general manager Julien BriseBois might be eyeing someone like Sami Vatanen on a one-year cheap deal. He’s yet to find a role on an NHL team and was a key blue line free agent insiders were keeping a lookout for. The same could be said for a player like Travis Hamonic — although he’s more likely to stay in Western Canada.

Sami Vatanen a target for the Tampa Bay Lightning?

Vatanen could be the Lightning’s next Kevin Shattenkirk. If he joins the team and has a huge year, he could make himself much more valuable on the open market next offseason.

The moves makes a lot of sense and there’s some real belief the Lightning could try to make a play here.

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